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Bikers and pedestrians beware

There are a lot of distracted, intoxicated and inpatient people on the roads. Black Friday is just 2 weeks away and the Christmas crunch is set to start even earlier this year. Pedestrians and bicyclists are being picked off in small groups and singly. Tuesday night, November 19th, a Sac High student was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Broadway and 4th Ave. in front of United Methodist church. This is that moment that every parent hopes never comes… that moment you see your child (no matter how minor the injuries may be) lying in the middle of the street, police and fire lights flashing all around and your daughter surrounded by firefighters and paramedics. [PSN PublicSafetyNews] CBS13 Reported November 19: Pedestrians hit by car outside Sleep Train Arena after Sacramento Kings Game SacBee Reported November 10- Second passenger dies after Sacramento hit-and-run crash The inattentive or distracted driver is becoming the leading problem behind the wheel today. There are three forms of distraction behind the wheel, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. There is the visual form, being inattentive while the driver may be changing a song on the radio, taking their eyes off the road. There is the cognitive, the drivers out there with something else on their minds, not paying attention. Then there is the manual forum, where […]

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Where did the downtown population go?

Many who visit downtown Sacramento note that, on evening or weekends, it seems like a ghost town. There is little pedestrian traffic, and most businesses are closed. In some ways, downtown Sacramento became a ghost town when half the central city’s population was forced to leave, and their homes were destroyed. Perhaps the ghosts of 30,000 former residents wander the streets, wondering what happened to their downtown neighborhood? The drop in Sacramento’s downtown population after 1950 is easy to see using census data. The US Census tracks population down to the “Census Tract” level, neighborhood-sized chunks of about 4,000 people. In 1950, the portion of Sacramento now known as “the grid,“ or “downtown” and “midtown,” the rectangular zone from the Sacramento River to Alhambra Boulevard between the B Street railroad levee and Broadway was often called the “Old City,” the original city limits. Fourteen census tracts are within this boundary, numbered 4-14 and 19-21. In 2010, three census tracts (9, 10 and 11) combined into Tract 11.01. The information in this article was derived from United States Census reports, and a paper by Prof. Robin Datel and Dennis Dingemans, “Historic Preservation and Social Stability in Sacramento’s Old City,” published in Urban Geography, 1994. Downtown in 1950 – 58,000 people In 1950, the Old City held more than 58,000 people, representing almost half of Sacramento’s population […]

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U.S. Transportation Secretary checks out intermodal facility

Mayor Kevin Johnson toured the downtown railyards with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood Thursday, showing off the site of the future intermodal facility and – if all goes well for Johnson and the Think Big Committee – the site of a new entertainment and sports complex. LaHood stopped in Sacramento on a tour of California to discuss investments being made in job-creating infrastructure projects in Sacramento and around the country, according to a press release Tuesday. LaHood spoke to a crowd of more than 50, discussing the importance of high-speed rail in California, as well as job potential from the future intermodal facility. “This facility is what I believe is a national model for a transit-oriented development opportunity,” LaHood said. “(It will) not only create jobs for people in Sacramento, but create an opportunity to be a magnet – to draw people to a part of the city that many people never thought would be usable.” Johnson said Thursday that the 245-acre downtown railyards will be home to “two crucial hubs” in one location: the intermodal facility and the entertainment and sports complex. “We believe this will be one of the busiest intermodal hubs in the country,” Johnson said. “It gets at two things at once: transportation and economic development.” The intermodal facility will be a transit center that will provide connections between nearly all […]

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Ask the County Law Librarian-Bicycles and Sidewalks

Q. I just moved to Sacramento and have noticed many people riding bicycles around town. Biking to work would be ideal, but I’m worried about dealing with traffic in certain areas and would be tempted to ride part of the way on sidewalks. I have a hunch this is illegal, yet I see cyclists doing this pretty often. Could I be ticketed for riding my bike on a sidewalk? – Dan A. Sidewalks are invariably appealing to bicyclists: smooth, level surfaces that facilitate cruising and offer a cushion of safety from approaching vehicles and their drivers, some of whom may still be using handheld devices to talk or text. Despite popular belief, sidewalks can be lawful segments of bicycle routes, but we recommend researching local county and city ordinances, relevant signage, and the area’s official bike routes before risking a potential citation, or worse. Pedestrians will always have the right-of-way on sidewalks, and cyclists should always exercise caution, especially riding in areas with heavy foot traffic. Bike laws are generally a municipal matter, so your research should begin with the local county and city codes: the Sacramento County Code and the Sacramento City Code are available online and in print at the Sacramento County Public Law Library, or your local county law library. Sacramento County Code, Section 10.12.010 (b) states “notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision […]

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No longer a ‘pedestrian mall,’ K Street prepares for cars

On Tuesday evening, the City Council will consider revising a local ordinance that will bring the city one step closer to seeing cars on K Street for the first time in more than 45 years. The revised ordinance will change a city code that has been in place since the early 1960s that defined the five blocks of K Street between Eighth to 12th streets as a “pedestrian mall,” closing it to vehicular traffic. “It was something that was happening in a lot of places back then,” said Denise Malvetti, department manager at the city’s Economic Development Department. “Cities were trying to replicate the suburban experience, and they created a lot of these pedestrian malls. It was a failed experiment, though.” Roughly 150 cities in the U.S. installed pedestrian malls in the 1960s, Malvetti said, and now about half of those have converted back to allow street traffic. “We’ve been working on getting cars back on K Street since late 2008,” Malvetti said. “We’ve put a lot of consideration into this project, and we did a lot of outreach to the community.” Business owners were outspoken in saying that returning cars to K Street is vital to increasing retail activity in the area, Malvetti said, but they won’t see an instant change. “It will likely be an incremental increase over time,” Malvetti said. City Council […]

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Ask Officer Michelle – Pedestrians Rule the Sidewalks

Posted by chriso I ride my bicycle around downtown alot. I just heard from a friend of mine that while he was riding his bike downtown an officer stopped him and told him to get off of the sidewalk and ride in the street. Are bicylists not allowed to ride on the sidewalk? I am not very comfortable riding in the street without a bike lane. Dear chriso, The truth of the matter is that the sidewalk is meant for pedestrians. In other words, it is illegal to ride on the sidewalks. Bicyclists must follow the same rules of the road as other “vehicles” and must ride as close as “practicable” to the right. Sacramento strives to be a bicycle friendly city with many bicycle routes, so people are encouraged to ride their bikes, however bicyclists are always encouraged to exercise caution. California Vehicle Code Sections 21200-21212 cover the rules of the road and what bicyclists can and can’t do. There is also a City Code section pertaining to riding bicycles on the sidewalk. City Code 10.76.010 states: Except as authorized under subsection B of this section, no person shall ride a bicycle on a sidewalk except within a residence district or where a sidewalk is designated as part of an established bicycle route. Pedestrians shall have the right-of-way on sidewalks. Sacramento Transportation Management Association […]

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Cops watching drivers for crosswalk manners

There are a couple of ways to approach a crosswalk in Sacramento’s inner city: With trepidation, resignation or fearlessness. The last is probably the best, but it’s also dangerous. You step into a downtown/Midtown street and your life is in your hands. Rather, in someone else’s hands: Those hands gripping the steering wheels of the cars bearing down on you. And while you can claim all day long that pedestrians have the right of way in California – especially in a marked crosswalk – you don’t want to be declaring said truth from a hospital bed. Fortunately, you have allies, and they’re a little bit crafty: The Sacramento Police Department will be conducting an undercover operation aimed at stinging drivers who fail to stop for people crossing the street on a legal crosswalk. On Tuesday, a SPD Problem-Oriented Policing team will be crossing crosswalks in midtown and downtown, and ticketing drivers who fail to stop for someone crossing the street. We wrote about this in the Sacramento Press not long ago, and if you click the link, you’ll see that the "decoy" pedestrian looks about as much like an undercover cop as, well, an undercover cop. Presumably, they won’t be so obvious this time. The goal of this is to cut down on accidents involving pedestrians and automobiles in our increasingly congested inner city. According to […]

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“Complete Streets” workshop Friday

 Planners will gather in Sacramento Friday for a workshop that focuses on creating safer, more accessible streets in the central city and beyond. The Local Government Commission and the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District are hosting a "Complete Streets" workshop to educate people about the need to transform more vehicle-dominated roadways into streets that are healthy, safe and easy to use for people on foot, bicycles and wheelchairs. "’Complete street’ is a term that’s emerged in the last four to five years to really address the need to have policies that result in streets that accomodate all users, not just people in a car," said Paul Zykofsky, director of the Local Government Commission’s land use and transportation programs. The commission, which began as the SolarCAL Commission in the 1970s, is made up of local government officials concerned primarily with creating livable communities. More diverse use of streets also can bolster air quality and lessen impacts on land and water. "It means taking a more holistic approach to the way we design, build and operate our streets," he said. The California Department of Transportation, Sacramento Area Council of Governments and WalkSacramento also are sponsoring the workshop, which will be held Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J St. Most of those attending are expected to be private and […]

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Sacramento Police Department begins series of crosswalk operations

During the Sacramento Police Department’s crosswalk operation early Thursday, 18 citations were handed out to law-breaking motorists. Intersections targeted downtown were 30th and Q, Alhambra and F, and J and 17th Streets.  The drivers caught during the sting-like operation were given citations and will be paying around $150 or more for their mistakes, with the fine amounts varying depending on the driver’s past citations and driving history. Conducted in a sting-like manner, police officers crossed crosswalks throughout the city’s intersections while dressed in plain clothes.  Waiting for unsuspecting drivers, patrol cars and motorcycle officers were stationed at various streets to keep an eye on the undercover officer crossing the street and ready to reprimand violating drivers when needed.  According to the department’s website, in Sacramento last year there were 204 traffic accidents involving pedestrians and seven of them resulted in fatalities. Not all the drivers who fail to yield cause accidents or are cited but the police department is well aware of the growing problem. “We get enough complaints about [drivers failing to yield] that it is necessary to do this,” said police spokesman Sergeant Norm Leong. The department hopes that their efforts will pay off by educating the community and decreasing the number of complaints made to the Traffic Enforcement Unit. Similar operations are planned to be conducted throughout the year around Sacramento.  

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Bicycle group puts the “bike” in Sacramento

Imagine, for a moment, our city without traffic: Families safe to walk through downtown, cross the street, take their time to look at historic buildings and storefront window displays. No cars in sight. Bikes, skaters, and runners in the middle of the street and people out to play and have a great time. This is how Sacramento could look thanks to a local bicycle advocacy group, Bikeramento, which wants to create a more bike-able Sacramento. They have already secured the first Sunday of every month for Sac Sunday Streets, an event which closes Capitol Avenue to traffic between 18th and 28th streets, to take place every month from May to September from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The idea is this: take out the cars, add some street vendors performers into the mix, and tap into the seemingly unending possibilies for family-oriented fun and creativity. The group began over a meal at Dad’s Kitchen, when a group of friends got to talking about how great it would be to connect the American River bike trail to Old Sacramento through a "Central City Bikeway." Sac Sunday Streets is just the beginning said the members of Bikeramento. At their latest Tuesday night meeting at Capsity Offices, a weekly occurrence, they discussed Bikeramento’s five year multifaceted plan. One goal is the creation of the Velobahn – the group’s […]

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